"D.O.P.E. Defenders of Planet Earth" Volume 1 is the name of a comic book series in the Initial Era that features the superhero team D.O.P.E., created by Michael J. Longo in 1992. The series ran for 3+ years and 15 issues. Note that there a D.O.P.E. Volume 2 that is part of the Current Era.
Issue #1 (May 1992)EditIssue #1 starts out with a van of four friends travelling through the desert in the southwestern United States. The young men are introduced - Dan Franklin, 26, afflicted with leprosy; Oliver Spat, 27, has a drooling problem; Paul Rocking, 24, strong but stupid; and Eric Fleming, 26, smoker. The foursome unknowingly drive into a nuclear bomb testing site, and are hit with high levels of radiation.
The men are transformed by the radiation and are given super powers. They decide to give themselves superhero names and they form D.O.P.E. Dan, who can dismember parts of his body and control them, calls himself the Leper. Oliver's spit is acid and he calls himself Saliva-Man. Paul's head shrunk and his body became bigger and more muscular; He calls himself Pinhead. Eric's body is covered in flames and he can control fire; He goes by the name the Flaming Idiot.
In this issue we see some of the strange background sight gags that the title would routinely do. For example, in the radiated part of the desert, there's a snake with two tails and three tongues.
Note: This issue features the first appearances of D.O.P.E., the four men, the four superheroes, and the D.O.P.E. van (before its transformation).
Issue #2 (June 1992)Edit
Issue #2 starts with the four newly powered heroes naked in the desert (Pinhead wears a leaf a la Adam). They notice that their van has been transformed by the radiation too, and it has wings and rocket engines and machine guns. Flaming Idiot says that they need to head back to New York (this issue was before it was decided on Quadropolis as the city name), hire more members and build a headquarters.
Back in the city, Pinhead walks in carrying bags of money he says were donations from the government and big corporations for creating a superhero team. Flamin' tells him to get a construction company started on their headquarters. Saliva-Man, meanwhile has created a bunch of fliers to recruit more heroes. The next day, there's a huge line of people waiting for their chance to join D.O.P.E. The first in line is Coco, who's just a mutant coconut, with arms and legs. Leper hires him into D.O.P.E. Visible in the line are some pop culture - Fred Flintstone, Apples and Cin-a-man, a Transformer, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, a robot that looks like R2-D2, etc. Another hero hired is Watermelon-Man, who can materialize watermelons out of thin air.
Meanwhile, the skyscraper headquarters is almost complete (quick workers). Back at the sign up, Leper steps on a miniature applicant identified as CB Jr who is delivering crunchy mini buns in his mini van, squishing him like a bug. Later, the D.O.P.E. building is finished and furnished (all in one day, apparently) and Leper declares that 99 members have joined D.O.P.E. today. Just then, the alarm sounds.
Note: This issue features the first appearances of the transformed D.O.P.E. van, the D.O.P.E. Headquarters, Coco, Watermelon-Man, Apples and Cin-a-man, and CB Jr.
Issue #3 (June 1992)Edit
Issue #3 starts out with Flaming Idiot calling for D.O.P.E. members to help fight the building's attackers. Six total DOPEs show up - the main four, Watermelon-Man and Commercial Guy. Commercial Guy just incessantly rattles off commercial slogans, and Leper excuses him from battle. The remaining five head out in the D.O.P.E. van (which flies) to battle the attackers, who identify themselves as Peanut Butter and Jelly. They are flying villains with apparatuses shooting peanuts (Peanut Butter) and jelly (Jelly) at the D.O.P.E. building.
The heroes (in the van) fly at PB & J. Peanut Butter is launching peanuts at the windshield to no avail. Jelly squirts his jam into the engine of the van, which causes it to lose control and crash. The heroes jump evacuate before the crash. Watermelon-Man blocks a jelly blast with his arm while creating a watermelon with his other. He hits Jelly in the face with the watermelon, which only seems to anger him more. The battle continues in the next issue.
Note: This issue is the first to feature a D.O.P.E. member and their membership card on the front cover (this time it's #5 Coco), a trend that continues through the rest of the series. This issue features the first appearances of Commercial Guy, Peanut Butter and Jelly.
Issue #4 (June 1992)Edit
Continuing the battle from last issue, Jelly squirts jelly all over Flaming Idiot, extinguishing his flame, and sending him falling to the ground. Luckily, Watermelon-Man is there to save him. Then Peanut Butter comes out and blasts the heroes with peanut butter, trapping them in a quagmire of peanutty goodness. The heroes are stuck to what they thought was a pad, but after Jelly adds a blast of his food, they realize it's a giant piece of bread. And with another added on top, they've become a sandwich. Leper calls inside the D.O.P.E. building for help. Inside are a few heroes, including Plop, Fizz and Ahh (parodies of Snap, Crackle and Pop), and Slimy (a big blob thing with eyes). Of them all, only Numbskull (who's not identified until next issue) answers the call.
Outside, the heroes realize they are about to be eaten, as PB & J call on their "pet", a giant marshmallow four legged creature, named Fluff.
The cover features Commercial Guy (Number #38) above the logo, and a special guest artist for the cover art. It's a little kid's drawing of the battle between D.O.P.E. and PB&J.
Issue #5 (July 1992)Edit
As Fluff is about to eat the hero sandwich, Numbskull comes out of the building and gives a jumping headbutt to Fluff, exploding him into small fluff pieces. Numbskull then launches a bazooka at PB & J, but not with any normal missile, rocket or bullet. It's Coco, strapped with dynamite. He hits the target and explodes, apparently killing Peanut Butter and Jelly; however Coco survives. Numbskull is then thanked for helping the heroes out of a jam. (pun painfully intended).
Notes: The cover features Numbskull (#27). This may be the shortest comic in Vigilante Comics history, only 4 pages of story/art.
Issue #6 (July 1992) Edit
The phone rings at D.O.P.E. headquarters. The president of Generally Mills is calling because someone is stealing the cinnamon and apple sprinkles from their cereal, "Cinnamon Apple Cheerihos" causing a significant decrease in profits. He asks Leper for help, who tells him he'll send his best men for the job. Leper uses the intercom to contact the Cereal Brigade (a subdivision of D.O.P.E.), however he mistakenly calls the Aquatic Corps (another subdivision), where Sea Horse, the leader of the Aquatic Corps, answers. In the background we see a big fish tank, with a cape wearing octopus, a fish and Mr. Mako. Correcting his mistake, Leper calls the Cereal Brigade where Apples thinks the wall is talking to him. Cin-a-man is quick to insult him. Also in the background is Tommy the Tiger (parody of Tony the Tiger). Apples and Cin-a-man, the leaders of the Cereal Brigade, are given the job, and leave in their bowl-car.
They get to the woods to find a helpless box of Cinnamon Apple Cheerihos and the Evil Sorcerer floating towards it. We see the ingredients of the cereal to be Cinnamon substitute, apple seeds, yellow #5, salt, MSG, sugar, red dye... Cin-a-man uses their magnificent leaf of magic repulsion to repel the Evil Sorcerer's sprinkle sucking ray. The ray bounces off a rock, a tree, a bird, and a bowling ball before hitting the Sorcerer himself, turning him into a carrot. The duo then plug the cereal.
The cover features Watermelon-Man (#6).
Issue #7 (August 1992)Edit
This issue introduces a new villain - the Lunatic. This crazy mutant man is roaming the streets of Quadropolis, spouting off that Elvis is re-establishing the Nazi Party, etc, and then starts mauling people - hitting them with a street light post.
At the D.O.P.E. headquarters, the crime alert sounds, and Saliva-Man and Pinhead answer, since they assume Leper and Flaming Idiot are busy (meanwhile Leper is toasting marshmallows on Flamin'). When they get to the scene, Lunatic is attacking people with a hammer. He throws it at Saliva-Man who spits on it, dissolving it. Lunatic throws a fake tantrum, which catches Saliva-Man off guard, opening him up to a Lunatic punch. He then scratches Pinhead with his long finger nails.
Note: Lunatic's tie changes in every panel he's in. The cover features Cin-a-Man (#8).
Issue #8 (September 1992)Edit
The battle continues with Lunatic hitting Pinhead in the head with a pail. Saliva-Man spits at him, which doesn't cause much pain for Lunatic. He rips out a fire hydrant with his hand and throws it at Saliva-Man, hitting him in the face. Pinhead smashes him from behind, and the two heroes then land a number of punches. They beat him up soundly, and then leave him for the authorities to pick up.
Issue #9 (October 1992)Edit
Toxic sludge in the Long River in Quadropolis bubbles up and becomes a large monster - Sludge. He proceeds to eat a mother and child who were walking by. That evening the news of this Sludge and his human eating ways are broadcast, and D.O.P.E. hears about it. However, the main four members of D.O.P.E. are all in the hospital, leaving Numbskull in charge. Numbskull asks for help, and several DOPEs volunteer - M.C. Frog (who raps all his lines), Coco and his son Coco-Lad, and Checkmate (who is made of various chess pieces). The group heads out and eventually finds Sludge. Numbskull throws Coco-Lad at him. He catches him and decides to eat him.
Note: on the cover is Sea Horse (#78)
Issue #10 (November 1992)Edit
The DOPEs yell at Sludge to let go of Coco-Lad. Then, Numbskull takes out a slingshot and launches Coco, hitting Sludge in the eye. Checkmate then zaps Sludge's hand, releasing Coco-Lad. Sludge then smashes a building and punches Numbskull. He flicks Checkmate with his finger, sending him crashing into a building. And he grabs M.C. Frog with his teeth, making the DOPE bleed. Coco and Coco-Lad realize they need help.
Note: on the cover is Super Octopus (#80)
Issue #11 (June 1993)Edit
This is the first inked issue of D.O.P.E. Coco and Coco-Lad radio in for help as Sludge approaches. Above them in the sky appears the D.O.P.E. van, and out of it jump four heroes - Leper, Pinhead, Saliva-Man and Flaming Idiot. They are healed and ready to fight. Saliva-Man licks Sludge's face, Leper punches him in the jaw, Flaming Idiot sets him on fire, and Pinhead picks him up and tosses him miles away.
Note: on the cover is Mr. Mako (#26).
Issue #12 (January 1994)EditThis issue featured a wraparound cover by Rob Liefeld (not really) who was a popular comic book artist (not sure why) at the time.
The story starts in D.O.P.E. headquarters where this a full assembly of the superhero team. Numbskull is talking, while leaders of the various subdivisions of D.O.P.E. are seated at the front. We see Sea Horse as leader of the Aquatic Corps, Watermelon-Man as the leader of the Food Group, Apples and Cin-a-man as leaders of the Cereal Brigade, and we're introducted to Amazin' Tree, leader of the Plant Squad. Numbkull asks the group for a moment of silence for the fallen D.O.P.E. members - Wick-Man, Muffler, Gutterball, and Tommy the Tiger, who all died at the hands of Sprinkles (See Sprinkles the Psychotic Moose Volume 1).
Numbskull then tells the audience the second part of the meeting will be about the return of the main four members, which thrills Amazin' Tree so much, he yawns. Leper, Flaming Idiot, Pinhead, and Saliva-Man take the stage to a good amount of clapping. However, when Leper starts talking about how the team needs to make the city safer and that crimes were up while they were hospitalized, he starts getting heckled. Big Mouth yells out asking Leper if he thinks that it's only because the main four weren't around that crime was up. Leper responds the rest of the team tried hard, but didn't capture a single criminal. Big Mouth again yells out - "So that's why you guys made yourselves leaders of D.O.P.E.?". Leper responds with an egotistical answer about how the leaders should also be the strongest, fastest, best looking, smartest, etc., which receives a number of strong "Boo"s from the crowd. Luckily for Leper the alarm goes off. A large reptilian creature is attacking the bay. We see it's Crudzilla. Big Mouth then challenges the main four, saying if they're so great, they should be able to defeat the creature by themselves. The four accept and run out to the D.O.P.E. van.
Issue #13 (July 1994)Edit
Continuing from last issue, the main four fly out in the D.O.P.E. van to battle Crudzilla, who is eating planes and punching through buildings. A blimp for Fungi Film floats in the background. Leper commands Pinhead and Saliva-Man to get back in the van and attack. Meanwhile, Flaming Idiot takes on the giant beast, only to have his fire blasts defeated by Crudzilla's eye lasers. The duo in the van attempt to save Flamin' but get punched by Crudzilla. Leper, upset, shoots a blast from his hands at Crudzilla. Where it hits the beast, the flesh becomes diseased. This is a new power that Leper himself didn't even know about, but it does nothing to slow the creature down.
Note: On the cover is Coco-Lad (#10)
Issue #14 (May 1995)Edit
Continuing from last issue, it's Leper vs. Crudzilla one on one. And Leper knows he doesn't stand a chance. Just then an arrow hits Crudzilla in the neck, and he heads back into the ocean. Leper finds the shooter of the arrow, and it's Turk, large lizard hunter, a parody of Turok, Dinosaur Hunter. Turk takes his leave as bionic talking dinosaurs are attacking New York. The main four aren't hurt, but are shaken up. Then Big Mouth shows up to ridicule them and state that he knew they couldn't defeat Crudzilla by themselves. He says they shouldn't be the leaders of D.O.P.E. and that he should be. When they question him that he hasn't proven himself, he says he'll take on the next villain who attacks all by himself.
That evening a villain named Explo, master of bombs, comes running at the D.O.P.E. building with a stick of dynamite and a grenade. Big Mouth is ready to take him on. Until he learns that Explo has an actual stick of dynamite. Big Mouth runs back into the D.O.P.E. building afraid, as Leper's hands come in and extinguish the spark on the dynamite, and his foot kicks Explo in the face. Pinhead takes him away and some bad pun jokes are exchanged.
The last page shows the structure of D.O.P.E., with the four subdivisions and examples of members in each. Several new members are listed - Big Weenie in the Food Group, Mr. Fern and the Hedge in the Plant Squad.
Note: On the cover is Amazin' Tree (#92)
Issue #15 (September 1995)Edit
This issue starts out in the desert with 4 friends travelling in a van. They are introduced - John Frost, who's always cold, Robert Beens, who has a gas problem, Jason Volts, who loves static electricity, and Brad Plasma, a hemophiliac. They entered a strange part of the desert where everything including themselves, was changing. They got special powers and gave themselves names. Frost became Igloo, with a body made of ice and he has the ability to generate and control snow and ice. Beens became Flatulence, who has sonic boom farts. Volts became Sparky, able to control and generate electricity. Plasma became the Bleeder, who has the ability to exude and control his blood like protoplasmic tentacles. They decide to become supervillains. Igloo suggests the team name Mutant Villains Inc. Bleeder presents one problem with their supervillain plan - there's too many superheroes. So they hatch a plan - join D.O.P.E. and destroy it from the inside! The foursome get back in their van, which has transformed, much like the D.O.P.E. van did, into the Mutant Villains Inc. wagon, and they speed off. This story was to be continued, but there was never another issue of D.O.P.E. Volume 1.
Note: On the cover is Gutterball (#67)